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Spanish tourist crushed to death by elephants

A Spanish tourist was crushed to death by a herd of elephants inside the hotel South AfricaPilanesberg National Park after he left his vehicle to take a close-up photograph of the breeding animalslocal police said.

The unnamed European, described by police as a 43-year-old man, visited the game reserve in South Africa’s North West province on Sunday in a private vehicle, according to provincial police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone.

He was accompanied by his fiancée and two other women, Mokgwabone said in a statement sent to CNN on Wednesday.

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is South Africa’s fourth largest park and a popular tourist destination. (Christian Heinrich/imageBROKER/Shutterstock/Archive)

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is South Africa’s fourth largest park and a popular tourist destination.

Police said that while touring the park, the man and his passengers “saw three elephants with three calves,” adding that “the man stopped the vehicle, got out and approached to take photographs” before being attacked and killed by the herd.

The provincial tourism board said in a statement that the Spaniard “failed to heed warnings” from “his fellow passengers and occupants of two other vehicles who were at the scene of the sighting” before approaching the elephants “which were feeding some distance from the road.”

“An adult female elephant attacked the man, who then ran away… (but) unfortunately he was unable to escape or evade the elephant, which was now joined by the entire herd, and was caught and trampled to death,” the board said.

He added that the elephants left the area afterwards and did not attack anyone.

“Evidence from witnesses who witnessed the entire incident further suggests that the elephant that charged and attacked may have done so to protect the herd and calves.”

Plans are being made to repatriate the tourist’s body, the Spanish newspaper said, citing officials.

Elephant attacks are not uncommon in South Africa.

In 2019, a suspected poacher was attacked and killed by an elephant, and his body was eaten by lions in northeastern Kruger National Park, authorities said at the time.

An elderly American tourist was killed when a bull elephant rammed a vehicle carrying tourists in Zambia earlier this year. (Nine / Supplied)

That same year, a security guard was crushed to death by an elephant at a mine in Limpopo province.

Other parts of southern Africa have witnessed similar tragedies.

The North West tourism board said it was “saddened” by the incident in Pilanesberg Park, urging tourists to “respect the distance between vehicles and animals and… only alight in specially designated areas”.

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